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FCC Commissioner Lauds DRM, ISP Filtering 217 217

snydeq writes "Ars Technica's Nate Anderson and InfoWorld's Paul Venezia provide worthwhile commentary on a recent speech by FCC Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate (PDF), in which she praised DRM as 'very effective' and raised a flag in favor of ISP filtering. Anderson: 'Having commissioners who feel that the government has a duty to partner with and back educational classroom content from the RIAA; who really believe that ISP filtering is so unproblematic we can stop considering objections; and who think that universities worry about file-swapping because tuition might be raised to pay for the needed "expansion of storage capabilities" (huh?) isn't good for the FCC and isn't good for America.' Venezia: 'Leave the ISPs out of it — it's not their job to protect a failing business model, and a movement toward a tiered and filtered Internet will do nothing to stem the tide of piracy, but will result in great restrictions on innovation, freedoms, and the general use of the Internet. There's nothing to be gained down that path other than possibly to expand the wallets of a few companies.'"
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FCC Commissioner Lauds DRM, ISP Filtering

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  • Re:Her email address (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tubal-Cain (1289912) * on Tuesday December 09, 2008 @10:29PM (#26054713) Journal
    Any idea about the stance of her probable replacement?
  • Re:DRM is effective (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cavefrog (1015175) on Tuesday December 09, 2008 @10:39PM (#26054781) Homepage
    Well, at least this [] type of DRM is effective. As for the other type, she couldn't be more wrong.
  • by ishmalius (153450) on Tuesday December 09, 2008 @10:40PM (#26054795)

    Maybe with the new administration it could be a rule that an FCC employee who is involved in regulation cannot work for a telecommunications company or one of their contractors or agents, for 10 years prior, or 10 years after employment.

    It's reaching, I know, but it's a dream I have. Real honesty, and no more corporate ass-kissing.

    The CTIA and their minions have a special place in Hell.

  • Oh FFS! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cailith1970 (1325195) on Tuesday December 09, 2008 @10:47PM (#26054839)
    Don't YOU lot start on internet filtering now, we're only just managing to slow the push for this here in Oz! If there's a push for it in the US, then our esteemed, clueless leader is going to say that there is more evidence it should be implemented here!
  • by smchris (464899) on Tuesday December 09, 2008 @10:54PM (#26054893)

    Remember, managers don't have to know anything about their field; they just need to know "management stuff".

  • I have had the unfortunate need to try to contact the friendly FCC lately, due to unwanted phone calls (they are the communications commission, after all). I can tell you that they are every bit as frustrating to work with as the DMV, minus the efficiency and courteous service.

    Though the most frustrating aspect of the FCC, from my vantage point, is their lack of concern for accountability of phone customers. If you compare phone registration to domain name registration, you'll find that phone registration has all the built-in obfuscation that computer spammers have dreamed about. Toll-free numbers, in particular, have protected identity information.

    If you get a call from a toll-free number, you have no good mechanism to determine the owner of the number. There is no central whois-like registry for this number, and the companies that sell the numbers are under no obligation to share information on who is using the numbers they sell.

    Want to lodge a complaint with the FCC? Fill out their automated form, and you'll see an automated response later. It won't likely address your complaint. And if you call their own number (888-call-fcc), you'll wait for some time and then receive no help.

    Frankly, KMart is a shining example of customer service in contrast to the FCC.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 09, 2008 @11:09PM (#26055035)

    I've really come to believe that some of this is an ideological problem. Some people seem to believe the rich people and successful businesses, by being successful, have shown themselves to be smarter and to have better judgment than the rest of us. "After all", they think, "If I were smart enough to make massive amounts of money, I would!"

    For as long as the wealthy are doing well, the people who think this way also think that, ideally, we should hope that the rich get richer. Since the wealthy are so smart and have such great judgment when it comes to financial matters, they're best equipped to manage money. Society will be most benefited by having as much money as possible concentrated in the hands of the greatest financial geniuses.

    And then when the wealthy start to fail, they think, "Well these people are the best of the best. If the smartest people with the best judgement are failing, then it must mean that the system has been broken by someone. We need to fix this! Whoever is ruining things, we should stop them!"

    I may be stating the obvious, but I've only recently discovered that this is how some people think. Crazy, huh?

  • by ishmalius (153450) on Tuesday December 09, 2008 @11:26PM (#26055143)

    Sounds good, but from what I can see, that never happens. Only the political lawyer/MBA scum seem to be involved.

  • Re:Her email address (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Afforess (1310263) <> on Tuesday December 09, 2008 @11:41PM (#26055241) Journal
    I wrote her an email. Thanks for the address. It follows, verbatim: "Dear Deborah Taylor Tate, I recently became aware of your support of DRM (Digital Rights Management) and ISP (Internet Service Provider) filtering. I am deeply disappointed in your decision and will factor your policies choices, among other things, in with my vote in the next national election. In any case, I urge you to drop your support of DRM and ISP filtering because of the numerous economic and constitutional issues they raise. ISP filtering is akin to having the USPS read all of your mail before delivering it to you, "For national security purposes." Is that really necessary? Is the average American guilty until proven innocent? DRM is a sneaky way of saying "Ha, I lied, you only rented that movie, you don't really own that copy." When they decide that not enough people care about the product (This decision is completely arbitrary, by the way), they end DRM support. This has happened time and time again, and one merely has to look as far as Wikipedia for numerous examples. Although, on a more positive note, I am glad that you at least make decisions at all, and don't equivocate, like some politicians we know. A discontented American Citizen, Cameron McAvoy."
  • bureacracy is just damage to route around

    block the servers, we make it p2p

    block the ports, we make it http

    sniff the packets, we mask it as as form gets and posts

    throttle our connection, we just download slower fractional pieces and assemble in alternative channels

    a billion media hungry, poor, and, most importantly, technically astute young people. far more technically astute, far more numberous, and a lot more motivated than your hired tech guns. you can't pay someone to do well enough what we do for free from passion

    go ahead, sue us. if you can find us. go ahead, bankrupt some poor dumb college kids. like those you catch are anything but dumband clueless. go ahead, reap the bad pr. nothing stops, full steam ahead

    game on, ignorant dinosaurs. its the extinction of your outmoded business models and your laws based on philosophies from the 1800s understanding of media

    whether your realize it, or fight it, or whatever, you lose, no matter what you do. you just don't know it yet

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @12:05AM (#26055383)

    I knew it had to be... Australia's (Rudd) government has been IGNORING the country's technical experts (eg, on the topic of Net Filtering) for a long time now... I had wondered why... What's in it for Australia to filter the Internet?

    I understand that the prime minister's wife is Catholic (could this be a factor?)

    Businesses might (before our Aussie $ dropped in value by ~30% recently) have wanted Australians' Internet experience to be SLOW, ie, so the more impatient amounst us would stop looking for bargains, eg, in larger cities or overseas or on eBay... but those bargains have "soured" after the Aussie dropped...

    Now, I see our Aussie gov't beginning to show signs of American nonesense all over again... (Wasn't the Iraq invasion enough?!?)

    Australia still seems to fear disagreeing with the Bush administration... Hopefully, Obama's rise to power (early in January) will give Australians a more intelligent approach to Internet facilitation (as opposed to the opposite).

    I'm still waiting for the Australian gov't to notice places - like France - where Internet is unlimited, cheap, fast (16 MB/sec - fast, at least, by Aussie [ADSL-1 - if you can get it] standards) & can come with whole-of-Nation unlimited phone calling (so they -feel- like a Nation) & some [pay] TV channels, as well.

    They're still pandering to -useless- Telstra and -sinking- USA... ie, rather than looking for bright ideas elsewhere.

    We tired of overpriced, monopolistic Telstra and really don't need to follow the USA into mega-deficits.

    We don't need SLOWER Internet, in the name of "filtering" and we don't need to be told what we can & cannot use our Internet for, for the most part. Those who download kiddy-porn or use the Internet to foster race-hatred do, but the rest of us should not have our Internet slowed by "filtering" activities, when it's so easy to beat the filters.

    PS: Did you know that it costs upwards of Au $10,000 for a "license" to be a (legal) ISP in Australia?!? That's anti-compertitive!

    Groups who would cooperate to bring fast[er] Intenet to their Australian neighborhood -fear- being fined for not having such costly licenses before they "Car-Pool" their groups' Internet accounts.

  • by Newer Guy (520108) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @12:07AM (#26055401)

    The FCC is by far one of the more corrupt of the Govt. agencies out there. Remember, the FCC was established to prevent interference between (then) radio broadcasters. Today's FCC has actually encouraged interference, by allowing the radio stations to run a digital broadcasting system that operates on their neighbors' frequency! They have totally screwed up cell phones, cable TV, broadcast TV, the Internet and just about everything else they have been allowed to touch! There has never been an engineer as an FCC Commisissioner, even though much of what they regulate is physics based. They all are lawyers!

    Under their tutalige, (and in concert with a corrupt Bush administration) the United States has wound up with the costliest, slowest, most content regulaged Internet of all the first world countries. The Communications Act of 1996 was GUTTED by them! There is virtually NO competition for Internet in the USA! We have three non-compatible cell phone systems here in the USA; and even where systems ARE compatible, unlike the rest of the world, you can not take your phone from one carrier to another and use it! Instead, perfectly good phones clutter our landfills!

    Our Digital TV system is a JOKE-just wait until next February to see how bad THAT is going to be (Hint: the digital coverage of TV stations is only about 60% of their current analog coverage, resulting in lots of coverage gaps). The AM broadcast band has been destroyed by an FCC that has allowed all sorts of interfering electronic devices to create digital grunge without licensing or oversight. Finally, the only thing that talks at ther FCC is MONEY!! Why else would under 35 TV stations be able to occupy TV channels five and six after digital, when a new FM band that could accomodate EVERY ONE of the 5000 plus AM stations could make MUCH BETTER use of this precious spectrum (another hint: channels 2-6 are USELESS for DTV)!

    The FCC needs to be abolished and replaced with a non-partisan agency primarily run by engineers. For far too long, the FCC has allowed the foxes (the very licensees they regulate) run the hen house. It's time to put this dog to sleep!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @12:19AM (#26055499)

    Sent via Fax: 1-866-418-0232

    Dear Commissioner Taylor Tate:

    As president of a small software company in New Hampshire I am quite aware of the critical place that copyright law plays in protecting my company's software and intellectual property.

    I just read the PDF of your speech last week at Penn (, and I must say that this it is a striking piece of work.

    It seems laden with misinformation, half truths, fear, uncertainty and doubt. It's hard to see where to begin, but I will raise four points:

    1) You spend a good third of the speech citing truly frightening statistics about the losses borne by creators of intellectual property. I would appreciate support for the numbers that you mention - the US Chamber of Commerce figure is particularly suspect, as it appears to refer to various other studies that ultimately rely on that original CoC figure.

    As a taxpayer, I ask you to provide the raw data for these statistics your argument relies on.

    2) I'm astonished that you include auto and fashion industry losses as ones of copyright. Certainly counterfeit products could be guilty of trademark infringement or outright fraud, and drug counterfeiting might be criminal.

    But it seems sloppy rhetoric to use such a broad brush in your talk.

    3) You then go on to cite efforts to use technology to minimize copyright violations. These watermarking and fingerprinting measures allow copyright holders to easily and reliably identify their content on public web sites. This, too, strikes me as a good way to make effective use of the current DMCA to take down the offending material.

    However, these seem to undermine the thesis of your talk that, "We have to do something about this!"

    4) The final part of your speech goes on to stump for greater education, at the expense of scaring the bejesus out of the audience, and completely ignoring (or worse, trampling) the right of Fair Use.

    In short, this was a red-meat speech that strives to stir up all the bogeymen of the "bad Internet".

    As a taxpayer and small-C conservative, I was hopeful that a federal government employee might present a more balanced view, especially to a university audience who could understand the nuances, of the current state of the law and a more thoughtful view of the national policy might be.

    I would appreciate a response, especially on the raw data for the statistics you cite.

    Best regards,

    Rich Brown
    Hanover, NH USA

  • by DragonTHC (208439) <[moc.lliwtsalsremag] [ta] [nogarD]> on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @01:08AM (#26055827) Homepage Journal

    A) she has excellent research available on the subject the effectiveness of DRM and ISP filtering


    B) she is grossly misinformed and spouting off like an idiot


    C) she knows what she says isn't true, but she's saying it to push the riaa agenda.

  • by CaptainNerdCave (982411) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @01:44AM (#26056037)
    i think most of us would really like to see the non-automated response you get, if you get one. regarding drm, i wrote to my congressman and senator... never heard anything from either of them. :-(
  • Re:Her email address (Score:2, Interesting)

    by me at werk (836328) on Wednesday December 10, 2008 @05:18AM (#26057119) Homepage Journal

    Her reply:

    "Wikipedia? Didn't they blacklist that site in the UK for having a naked girl on it? We need to blacklist that filthy perverted site here in America too, thanks for reminding me!"

If all else fails, lower your standards.